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About Being Too Fierce

sad child

Why write a book about my life growing up in foster care?  If life was so bad back in the day, why relive it by writing the details in a book for all to see?  Wouldn’t it just make the good life I’m living right now more painful? Wouldn’t it bring back all the old feelings I worked so hard to forget?  Why put myself back through the anguish I strived so intently to get away from?

All of these questions came to mind when I decided I was really going to do it.  After thinking long and hard over each of these questions, I could only come up with one answer, which was, SO I CAN FINALLY HAVE A VOICE; the voice I never had throughout my entire childhood.

Being Too Fierce by Lisa P. CohenIn my memoir, I included in more than half of the 21 chapters, actual excerpts from my sealed foster care records.  As I read through the extensive collection of more than 800 pages of what was to be my written – history from 18 months to 19 years old – there was not one instance where someone quoted me at any age.  This is why my story had to be told.  I am acutely aware of the many children who are still in care today, silently living as I once did. The passion which drove me through the most difficult chapters in Being Too Fierce, such as Whippins and the Hair Justifies the Means, is the passion I feel for the thousands of foster and former foster children trying their best to cope with the filthy secrets of their past.

Some people ask me how I can recall so many of the details of my life, so vividly.  I always answered, because I actually thought it was the truth.  I’d say, “I don’t know; I just have a good memory, I guess.”  But the truth is, when you go to bed each night reliving each dreadful day, because you can’t get to sleep for thinking about whatever it was that put you in that space, you can’t help but remember.  You can’t stop remembering the pain, because it hurts all the time. But, what I also have learned through the remembering and the pain is, “…it doesn’t last always.”  Once I learned that lesson, I was able to pursue my life as an adventure toward truly loving myself, knowing my self-worth and daring to make extraordinary moves.

I had to write my story, the want turned into a need, so others could find their voice.  Through my story, I want to encourage them to use the power of their voices and scream loud and proud that they too will make it through.

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